New Jackson Elementary lot/loop proving popular

       After a week of school, a new parking lot/drop-off loop at Jackson Elementary is working as well as the school's staff and parents had hoped, according to Principal Anne Dancy.
       “We're pleased that already it's not as congested as the drive-through area was,” she said. “That of itself will help safety.”
       The paved area, accessible on the north side of the school from Holland Park Boulevard, was built this summer as part of a roughly $165,000 District 11 bond-issue improvement. It allows parents to drive through and drop off/pick up their children or to park in a 25-space lot.
       Plans were worked out between the district and the school after staff and parents had advocated the idea prior to the district's 2004 and 2005 capital improvement bond-issue elections. “We decided, we had a big empty field, let's use that,” Dancy said.
       Students who are dropped off in the morning need to walk around to the school entrance, which is still on the east side of the school. For security reasons, all other doors are locked at that time, Dancy noted.
       The old drive-through on the school's east side is so outmoded that in recent years its entrance has been coned off on school days. According to Dancy, cars frequently blocked the relatively short, narrow lane.
       That space is used now for parking; it is accessible through the former drive-through exit.
       K.C. Keen, District 11's manager for the project, said the new lot/loop reflects current times when more students get driven to school than in 1966, when Jackson opened. “We have schools [such as Jackson] designed in the '50s and '60s when most kids walked to school,” he said. “Now most kids are driven, and those schools don't have adequate loading and parking.”
       In addition to lengthy drop-off/pick-up space, the new lot has 25 parking spaces for those who need to stay a while. To date, no problems have been reported. “Parents seem willing to drop their kids off and go,” Dancy said. “So far, so good.”

Westside Pioneer article